The biobehavioral and neuroimmune impact of low-dose ionizing radiation

Jason M. York, Neil A. Blevins, Daryl D. Meling, Molly B. Peterlin, Daila S. Gridley, Keith A. Cengel, Gregory G. Freund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In the clinical setting, repeated exposures (10-30) to low-doses of ionizing radiation (≤200. cGy), as seen in radiotherapy for cancer, causes fatigue. Almost nothing is known, however, about the fatigue inducing effects of a single exposure to environmental low-dose ionizing radiation that might occur during high-altitude commercial air flight, a nuclear reactor accident or a solar particle event (SPE). To investigate the short-term impact of low-dose ionizing radiation on mouse biobehaviors and neuroimmunity, male CD-1 mice were whole body irradiated with 50. cGy or 200. cGy of gamma or proton radiation. Gamma radiation was found to reduce spontaneous locomotor activity by 35% and 36%, respectively, 6. h post irradiation. In contrast, the motivated behavior of social exploration was un-impacted by gamma radiation. Examination of pro-inflammatory cytokine gene transcripts in the brain demonstrated that gamma radiation increased hippocampal TNF-α expression as early as 4. h post-irradiation. This was coupled to subsequent increases in IL-1RA (8 and 12. h post irradiation) in the cortex and hippocampus and reductions in activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein (Arc) (24. h post irradiation) in the cortex. Finally, restraint stress was a significant modulator of the neuroimmune response to radiation blocking the ability of 200. cGy gamma radiation from impairing locomotor activity and altering the brain-based inflammatory response to irradiation. Taken together, these findings indicate that low-dose ionizing radiation rapidly activates the neuroimmune system potentially causing early onset fatigue-like symptoms in mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-227
Number of pages10
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2012

Keywords

  • Acute radiation syndrome (ARS)
  • Co
  • Cs
  • Innate immunity
  • Interleukin-1 (IL-1)
  • Prodromal stage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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